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Does your town like you?

Global nomads know it instinctively: there are places in the world where we feel more at home than other places. I’ve spent a lot of ink describing that how we experience living somewhere new is to a large degree influenced by how well we prepare, what we expect and need at that point in our life and how much we really want to be where we are. But there may be another element at play: the ‘personality’ of the...

TCKs don’t do ‘favourite places’

Growing up as a globally mobile kid, I occasionally felt bullied into defining my international identity in ways that made me uncomfortable. This happened, for example, when people insisted I give them an answer to the question, “So of all the places you’ve lived, what’s your favourite?” If people who don’t move have one favourite place, shouldn’t I have one too? But we don’t. Global nomads know that because we...

The blindness of expat privilege

“An expat is anyone who lives in a country outside their birthplace.” Right, so that would make South Asian ‘guest workers’ in Dubai expats, right? Well, no. Those guest workers are manual labourers who work for low wages. OK, so to be an expat you have live outside your passport country AND have a well-paying job. Well, that would make many immigrants expats but we wouldn’t call them expats because they plan on...

My nationality is ‘European’

Reading the article by Simon Kuper ‘Why Europe Works’ (Financial Times 23/05/14), I finally realised that I would rather call myself European than any other single nationality. Let me be clear. I am not talking about citizenship. Citizenship is a legal construct that implies rights and responsibilities: nationality is a statement of identity. Despite the fact that nations arose only in the 18th century (some were created...

What if living abroad is the norm?: Framing our re...

In her blog “The effects of monolingualism” Madalena Cruz-Ferreira reflects on how the debate starts from the point of view that monolingualism is the norm making its ‘opposite’, multilingualism, an aberration. (http://beingmultilingual.blogspot.fr/2011/07/effects-of-monolingualism.html) From this paradigm, research asks ‘what are the effects of multilingualism on language development?’ But, says Cruz-Ferreira,...
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